Yoga for kids is nothing like yoga for adults – it has to be fun! If you are all “Om Shanti” and “Namaste,” you most likely won’t be able to keep up with the kids in your class. Kids yoga classes are, and should be, fast and loud and dramatic, and even a bit crazy -- in a good, fun way of course!
But even with all of this fun and excitement, there comes a time in your weekly classes when you want to do more than just play yoga, but actually, and gradually, get a bit better at it.
Below are 10 creative and practical ways to help kids do poses better:
1. Using Props
You can have the kids reach farther in the Seated Forward Bend (Sandwich Pose) by luring them to reach towards a toy, or they can back bend farther in the Cobra Pose by stretching toward a puppet with their nose. In the Candle Pose, the kids come into a higher and better pose by reaching toward your hand or a doll with their feet.
2. Yoga Problem
Come to the center of the circle and assume a yoga pose in an awkward or wrong way (you can also ask for a volunteer to do it). Then, one at a time, each kid comes to the center, walks around the person who is in the yoga problem, and makes one adjustment. We keep going until the posture is perfect and then we choose a new posture problem. It’s a great way to learn how to do the poses correctly!
3. Yoga Sculptor
In groups of two, one starts as a lump of clay resting in Child’s Pose while the other moves him and sculpts him, one adjustment at a time, into an amazing yoga pose statue. I usually don’t fix the kids’ creations, but if you want to, you can go around to all the sculptures and suggest to the artist to make small corrections that might make the pose more comfortable and steady.
4. Sculpture Art Studio
You, the teacher, will be the sculptor in this game! This exercise gives you the opportunity to adjust everyone in their poses.
5. Yoga Workshop
Take five minutes in every class to teach the kids how to do a certain pose better. The rest of the class is still totally amazing crazy fun! Only those five minutes are a bit more serious.
In these five minutes you take one pose and you teach the kids how to do that one pose better. Teach them how to:
- Go into and out of the pose
- Variations in the pose
- Do it in pairs and a group...
6. Yoga Picture And Art Gallery
Take photos of your students doing their favorite poses and proudly display them in your studio. Use them as a guide to remind the group how to do the poses. You could even hang them in fun sequences for the group to practice, and let the students rearrange them once in a while.
7. Pose Of The Month
Choose one pose to celebrate on for a whole month! Explore the pose from every angle, using your body, your friends and your imagination.
- How many different animals can this pose be?
- Can this pose move in some way and become a traveling pose?
- Draw pictures of the pose
- Invent partner poses and group poses based on this pose
- Make up and sing songs about this special pose
- Explore variations of the pose
- Make special sequences using these variations
- Teach the children all of the cool benefits of this pose
8. Yoga World Records
It sounds competitive, but it doesn’t have to be. Focus on the students’ strengths, and find something that everyone is good at. You can be as silly and creative as you like! You can even invent group records and try to break them together!
Make your Yoga World Record Chart, and proudly display it in your classroom. It may look similar to this:
YOGA WORLD RECORDS
|The Talent||The Winner||The Record|
|Jumping the most times in frog pose||Oli||10,000 jumps!|
|Most convincing monkey behavior||Gopala||Non-stop!|
|Longest standing Yoga Tree||Angel||Six Minutes!|
|Largest Human Pyramid||Class Four||15 people!|
|Staying still the longest||Emily||10 min (Starfish pose)|
|Tallest tower of ice cream scoops (Stacked child poses)||Delphin, Meika, Kelby, Curtis and Billy||5 YEAH!|
|Most convincing animal sound||Indigo||Horse|
9. Make It Beautiful
This is an instruction I use a lot with kids. When I tell the kids “Make it Beautiful”, it helps them move through the poses with more awareness. Instead of jumping in and out of poses and flinging our legs and arms all over (which is okay in a kids yoga class to start with), we move in an attentive and careful way... we learn to appreciate our body and the magic that makes all of its movements, and yoga, so beautiful.
Practice makes perfect, so just keep doing it again and again. No magic tricks, just practice! :)
Do you teach kids yoga or do yoga with your own kids? How do you keep them interested and engaged?